2 July 2012
The union’s national executive has agreed to work with other unions to build for coordinated action over pensions in the autumn. This will complement the 20 October TUC demo. PCS wants the government to negotiate seriously over the core pension issues of paying more, working longer and getting less.
National action on 10 May has been backed up by an overtime ban until the end of July and by a series of strikes across departments, with more expected in the coming months, ahead of anticipated national action co-ordinated action with other unions and the TUC demo. The group action builds on the success of the national action and develops the union's campaign to ensure that the government understands that PCS is going to fight for decent pay, proper levels of staffing, defence of our services and to retain pensions public sector workers were promised when they started work.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Over the summer there will be more disputes, in different parts of PCS, all of them aimed at saying to the government austerity isn’t working and showing we are determined to stand up for jobs, for pay and for pensions. I hope you continue to support the campaign, check the website regularly for further information, and be ready when we get to the stage of calling further national industrial action to send a massive message to the government in the autumn.”
June has seen a month-long period of rolling strike action against proposed cuts to the Department for Transport’s budget. Coastguards, driving instructors and office staff have walked out with demands including:
• No compulsory redundancies
• No compulsory relocations
• No office or station closures
• No to regional pay.
A walkout on 1 June by staff in 39 Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency offices threatened with closure kick-started a month of rolling strikes among PCS's 8,000 Department for Transport members.
The two-hour strike involved the union's 1,200 members who work in the DVLA's local and enforcement offices in England, Wales and Scotland that the government plans to close. At some of the offices a party atmosphere existed with members feeling a real sense of solidarity and achievement. PCS estimated that 95% plus of members in the local offices took part in the action.
Dave Cliff, PCS national officer for DfT said: “This kind of brief, targeted action is fantastically effective. Members in the DVLA local office network showed the way with almost 100% support for the action and the rest of our members have stood solidly with them and supported other walkouts.”
Three days of strike action by Department for Work and Pensions members on Merseyside from 6–8 June were incredibly well supported by all of the branches involved. More than 80% of the members in the 29 jobcentres in DWP Liverpool, North Merseyside, Wirral and St Helens and Halton branches took action in their campaign for proper staffing levels and against compulsory postings.
Picket lines were all well attended throughout each day and a well-attended members’ meeting heard from PCS DWP president Fran Heathcote, Morag Reid, Unite community organiser and PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka all offering full support.
Before the action, members had already held two three-hour walkouts and remain determined to bring management back to the negotiating table. They are clear that their dispute is not just about the jobs they do but also the service they deliver.
Members in Revenue and Customs have given resounding support for a programme of group-wide industrial action in defence of jobs as a further 10,000 posts are planned to be cut. As part of a sustained campaign to defend jobs and services members took action on 25 June with an overtime ban in place from 26 June.
Key to the success of the campaign in the department is the involvement of members. Campaigning and action has so far directly resulted in HMRC securing £900 million reinvestment in enforcement and compliance, ended the need for members to take medical appointments in their own time and protected jobs in Wick for a further two years.
Members have voted to support strike action and action short of strike over the following demands:
• No further job cuts in HMRC
• An end to private sector involvement in HMRC
• No compulsory redundancies or moves beyond reasonable travel
• An end to consideration points.
Members are under pressure to deliver more, with increased scrutiny, fewer staff and resources – 30,000 jobs have gone already in HMRC. Even by the estimate of the public accounts committee this has resulted in the department losing the ability to collect £1.1 billion in tax.
The Home Office group has been balloting members over action in response to the attacks on jobs, pay, terms and conditions and the ongoing threat of privatisation.
The government plans to cut jobs by a third in the Home Office by 2015 – with management not ruling out compulsory redundancy. PCS is accusing Home Office management of operating a sackers' charter after they have forced through a raft of policies aimed at making it easier to sack workers.
As part of the ballot, PCS is also seeking authority to establish a voluntary levy which would allow group members to contribute towards a fund which will be used solely to support members taking action in key strategic areas to exert maximum pressure on the employer to win the concessions that we want.
Keep up to date with the latest news at: pcs.org.uk/campaigns